Jeremy Hunt doesn’t understand junior doctors. He co-wrote a book on how to dismantle the NHS | Frankie Boyle4 days ago
Frankie Boyle: The health secretarys name is so redolent of upper-class brutality he belongs in a Martin Amis book where working-class people are called Dave Rubbish
One of the worst things for doctors must be that, after seven years of study and then another decade of continuing professional exams, patients come in telling them theyre wrong after spending 20 minutes on Google. So imagine how doctors must feel about Jeremy Hunt, who hasnt even had the decency to go on the internet.
Consider how desperate these doctors are: so desperate that they want to talk to Jeremy Hunt. Surely even Hunts wife would rather spend a sleepless 72 hours gazing into a cracked open ribcage than talk to him. Hunt wont speak to the doctors, even though doctors are the people who know how hospitals work. Hunts only other job was founding Hotcourses magazine: his areas of expertise are how to bulletpoint a list and make dog grooming look like a viable career change.
Of course, the strikers are saying this is about safety, not pay, as expecting to be paid a decent wage for a difficult and highly skilled job is now considered selfish. Surely expecting someone to work for free while people all around them are dying of cancer is only appropriate for the early stages of The X Factor. Sadly, Tories dont understand why someone would stay in a job for decency and love when their mother was never around long enough to find out what language the nanny spoke.
The fact that Hunt co-wrote a book about how to dismantle the NHS makes him feel like a broad stroke in a heavy-handed satire. Even the name Jeremy Hunt is so redolent of upper-class brutality that it feels like he belongs in one of those Martin Amis books where working-class people are called things like Dave Rubbish and Billy Darts (No shade, Martin Im just a joke writer: I envy real writers, their metaphors and similes taking off into the imagination sky like big birds or something). Indeed, Jeremy Hunt is so overtly ridiculous that he might be best thought of as a sort of rodeo clown, put there simply there to distract the enraged public.
I sympathise a little with Hunt he was born into military aristocracy, a cousin of the Queen, went to Charterhouse, then Oxford, then into PR: trying to get him to understand the life of an overworked student nurse is like trying to get an Amazonian tree frog to understand the plot of Blade Runner. Hunt doesnt understand the need to pay doctors hes part of a ruling class that doesnt understand that the desire to cut someone open and rearrange their internal organs can come from a desire to help others, and not just because of insanity caused by hereditary syphilis.
The government believes that death rates are going up because doctors are lazy, rather than because weve started making disabled people work on building sites. Indeed, death rates in the NHS are going up, albeit largely among doctors. From the steel mines where child slaves gather surgical steel, all the way up to senior doctors working 36 hours on no sleep, the most healthy people in the NHS are actually the patients. This is before we get to plans for bursaries to be withdrawn from student nurses, so that were now essentially asking them to pay to work. Student nurses are essential; not only are they a vital part of staffing hospitals, theyre usually the only people there able to smile at a dying patient without screaming: TAKE ME WITH YOU!
The real reason more people die at weekends is that British people have to be really sick to stay in hospital at the weekend, as hospitals tend not to have a bar. We have a fairly low proportion of people who are doctors, dont plan to invest in training any more, and are too racist to import them. So were shuffling around the doctors we do have to the weekend, when not a lot of people are admitted, from the week, when its busy. This is part of a conscious strategy to run the service down to a point where privatisation can be sold to the public as a way of improving things.
Naturally, things wont actually be improved; theyll be sold to something like Virgin Health. Virgin cant get the toilets to work on a train from Glasgow to London, so its time we encouraged it to branch out into something less challenging like transplant surgery. With the rate the NHS is being privatised, it wont be long before consultations will be done via Skype with a doctor in Bangalore. Thank God were raising a generation who are so comfortable getting naked online. Im afraid it looks like youve had a stroke. No, my mistake youre just buffering.
When I was little, I was in hospital for a few days. The boy in the next bed was an officious little guy who took me on a tour of the ward. Hed sort of appointed himself as an auxiliary nurse and would help out around the place, tidying up the toys in the playroom, and giving all the nurses a very formal Good Morning, which always made me laugh. I got jelly and ice-cream one evening (Id had my tonsils out) and they brought him some, too. Afterwards, he threw his spoon triumphantly into his plate and laughed till there were tears in his eyes. Then he tidied up and took our plates back to the trolley. What he meant by all this (wed sit up at night talking and waiting for trains to go by in the distance) is that this was the first place hed known any real kindness and he wished to return it. For most of us it will be the last place we know kindness. How sad that we have allowed it to fall into the hands of dreadful people who know no compassion at all, not even for themselves.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
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Martin McGuinness obituary19 days ago
Sinn Fin politician and peace negotiator who went from being an IRA commander to serving for a decade as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland
Martin McGuinness, who has died aged 66 after suffering from a genetic disorder, was the former IRA commander who became Sinn Fins chief negotiator in the Northern Ireland peace process that led to the Good Friday agreement of 1998. Nine years later he entered power-sharing government with the Democratic Unionist Ian Paisley, and continued to serve as deputy first minister with Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster until resigning in January this year from the consequences of Fosters refusal to stand down during an inquiry into a bungled energy scheme.
McGuinness was still a teenager when fate propelled him into violent politics in his native Derry. Scenes in 1968 of Gerry Fitt, the Catholic MP for West Belfast, splashed with blood after being hit by police batons as he led a civil rights march, shocked him into activism. He took to the streets just as the IRA, having been stood down after abortive Border campaigns in the 1950 s, was re-arming. IRA leaders insured him as capable of providing organisation in Derry to mirror what Gerry Adams was developing in Belfast. Within months McGuinness was second in command of the IRA Derry Brigade, its own position he still held on 30 January 1972, Bloody Sunday, when British parachute regiment soldiers shot dead 13 unarmed Catholic demonstrators.
In March 1972, the Conservative “ministers ” Edward Heath suspended the Northern Ireland government at Stormont and imposed direct regulation. William Whitelaw, the Northern Ireland secretary, tried secret talks with the IRA. Its leaders, Sen Mac Stofin and Samus Twomey, wanting the voice of young activists to be heard, picked McGuinness and Adams to join their six-strong delegation to fly to London. McGuinness and Adams already knew one another from the barricades, but that journey dedicated them an invaluable insight into the powerful British political establishment and cemented a lifelong relationship and political partnership that was strong enough for them to push through the peace settlement against often violent opponent within the republican community.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
What the rest of Europe thinks about Londoners picking a Muslim mayor20 days ago
People living outside the UK give their views on Sadiq Khans win and whether a Muslim would be elected where they live
As Europe grapplings with the rise of anti-immigration parties, Sadiq Khans appointment as the first directly elected Muslim mayor of a western capital city is important. According to those who responded to a Guardian callout, people living in the rest of Europe welcome the choice Londoners have made.
Sadiqs appointment sends a great message to the world. It reflects Britains state of mind which, as a French person, I think is more open-minded than France, said 18 -year-old Mathilde from the south of France. It tells me that Londoners see above the religion or the race of a person.
Last year, a YouGov poll procured that 31% of those living in the capital would be uncomfortable having a Muslim mayor, and 13% are still not sure. But the 1,310, 143 people who voted for Khan have boosted Londons reputation as a multicultural, multi-faith and liberal city.
Mathilde lives in Alleins, a village not far from Marseille, which is home to 250,000 Muslims, the second largest population in France. In the 2015 regional elections Alleins citizens voted for the rightwing party Les Rpublicains( 52% ), and the far-right Front National( FN)( 48% )~ ATAGEND. In the first round of the local election Front National led, losing out in the second round to Les Rpublicains. I live in an area where, ironically, there are many Muslims but where the FN has the most success. There are definitely discriminations against Muslim people, even though its often in discreet forms.
I tend to be pointed out that Muslims are not really integrated in society but left in a corner. I guess the Paris attacks helped the rightwing parties, especially the far-right party, to become more important. In fact the regional elections happened a little while after the attacks she said.
Louis, 18, who also lives in southern France, feels that Muslim people are more integrated into society than Mathilde describes but doesnt ever expect to see a Muslim political nominee in a similar position to Khan.
For me, it doesnt matter what his religion is or where he comes from as long as hes qualified and skilled. I guess[ Khans win] highlights Londons ethnic diversity and that he won thanks to their vote, he said.
Rafiq, 70, from Switzerland, has positive experiences of Muslim people standing for local government elections and gaining referendums, despite the populist rightwing Swiss Peoples party( SVP) winning the biggest share of the vote in Switzerlands elections last year.
It seems that acts of Islamophobia are not as widespread as are sometimes reported. Like most places Switzerland has all kinds of people, but many are open-minded and friendly with neighbours who are polite and kind to my hijab-wearing wife. Several Muslims are standing during the elections and some of them get a good number of referendums, but not quite enough, he said.
Ursula, 62, from Munich believes that despite some visible rightwing sentiment Germans would vote regardless of religion.
I think that convincing characters would have equal chances , no matter their religious beliefs. I was surprised by Sadiq Khans appointment. I had expected that the non-Muslim majority would not like to be represented by a Muslim major. Maybe such a big city attracts people with an open mind?
The Muslim part of society is not very active politically. I suppose the majority still keep their distance, feeling that they should not get involved, she said.
Wolfram, a 67 -year-old from Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler in the west of Germany, has considered anti-immigration sentiment imbue where he lives and cant insure a Muslim politician being elected any time soon.
It seems that Londoners accept their history and the consequences of the empire, and the outcome dedicates hope that people with different religions can live together peacefully.
Wolfram said he could not imagine a Muslim politician being elected where he lived, certainly not in the near future. Theres a instead deep split between those who are afraid of the rise in the number of Muslim people and the other citizens who are open-minded, even about open borders for refugees.
Hanna, 24, from Helsinki, believes Khans win is important given the loathe speech and discrimination facing Muslims in Europe, the rise of rightwing parties, and what she describes as openly racist legislators in Finland.
The anti-immigration party Perussuomalaiset[ known as Finns party, or PS] got into government and people attitudes have become harder towards refugees, especially to Muslims. The foreign minister, Timo Soini, who is party leader and co-founder of PS and a Catholic, even suggested we should prefer Christian refugees.
As we took more refugees in than ever, the PS are losing advocates. But this entails some people are going for even more rightwing politics like Rajat Kiinni!( Border Shut !). On their Facebook page they openly call all Muslims rapists and terrorists.
For this reason Im happy about Khans appointment, but mostly because of his politics , not just his religion. I dont really like any organised religions, but everyones free to believe what they want. It seems to me that Londoners suppose politics are more important than what religion someone believes in. They are wise, she said.
Many respondents to the callout hope Khans win will raise the status of Muslim people living in their own towns and cities across Europe, and help to involve them more in political life.
Nesi, 44, a secondary school teacher who lives in a small city outside Madrid, hopes Khans win will go some style in contribute to improving Muslim peoples opportunities.
For the child of an ethnic minority to go into higher education, take part in politics and become a mayor, a lot of things in Spain have to change and improve. I think there must be some occurrences, but society doesnt provide equal opportunities for all children.
Political posts of any relevance are largely merely for those who go to university or belong to a rich traditional household. And certainly not for a Muslim, I am afraid to say. Spain is too conservative in general to allow a Muslim to take part in politics.
Sadiqs appointment shows that politics and important issues in the world should be about people , not religion. It also shows that a multicultural society living in peace is possible. And of course it shows what a fantastic place to live London can be, sometimes.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
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